For recent college grads, it's incredibly difficult in today's labor market to land a job interview for an entry-level job, and it's even more challenging to move on in the process and get a job offer. But let's say you did finally get an interview—and the job offer—after a long and tedious job search. And you accept, excited to start your first real job out of college. Although you're relieved that you found employment, there's one question that keeps popping up in your head: Now what?
You've been so focused on finding a job that you haven't thought about what you'll do once get one. Naturally, you know you'll do your job to the best of your ability. You'll work hard and complete your tasks and assignments in a timely manner. You want to make a good first impression, after all. But this is an entry-level job; you won't work, and certainly don't want to work, this job forever. So how can you ensure you'll be successful in your new job so you get promoted? How can you stand out and impress your manager? How do you prove your value as a young employee?
Here are some tips all recent college grads should follow if they want to stand out in an entry-level job:
Prioritize Skill Development
When you're fresh out of college, you have limited work experience. You probably have a handful of skills you've developed from part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer work. Whatever the case, you were valuable enough to hire. The company thought you had the potential to make or save them money. It's your job to prove them right. But it's not just enough to do your job and do it well. In order to stand out and grow your career and get that promotion, you need to continue to prove your value. You need to focus on developing your skills.
One of the best things you can do as a recent college grad in an entry-level job is prioritize skill development. Take online courses, volunteer to help on projects, and look for ways to challenge yourself. Be proactive and take initiative. Try to get as much experience as you can on the job. Developing your skills and proving how valuable you are to your employer will help you stand out and get promoted over your peers, even if you're the newest member on the team.
Under Promise & Over Deliver
As a recent college grad looking to stand out in an entry-level job, sometimes it takes a little finessing to get the results you want. Our second tip is to find ways to under promise and over deliver on every assignment that's given to you. It's actually the best advice J.T. O'Donnell, Work It Daily's founder and CEO, was given when she was a recent college grad. "When I regularly exceeded expectations it helped me to stand out and get promoted faster," she says.
Whatever you do, don't be too eager in your new job when it comes to promising a certain level of productivity. You don't want to over promise and under deliver. You want to manage your boss's expectations, and then exceed them whenever you can.
Keep Track Of Your Accomplishments
When it comes time for your performance review, or when you decide to ask your boss for a raise or promotion, you'll want to have hard evidence of your value as an employee. This is why you should keep track of your accomplishments.
Keeping track of your accomplishments will help you stand out because you'll be able to prove to your manager just how valuable you really are as an employee. And the best way to document your value as a business-of-one is to quantify your work experience and accomplishments, specifically on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile every month with quantified bullet points so you don't forget any important information. This way, when it comes time for your performance review, you'll be able to show your boss how you made or saved the company money and, therefore, justify a raise or promotion.
As a recent college grad looking for a job, what you lack in experience, you can make up for with enthusiasm. But once you land your first job out of school, that won't be enough to stand out at work. If you want to stand out in an entry-level job as a recent college grad, follow these three tips.
Good luck! We're here for you if you need any more help navigating the post-grad work life.
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